Joe Cronin, who has served as interim general manager of the Trail Blazers since December, will get the job on a permanent basis along with a four-year contract, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The team has confirmed the news in a press release.
Cronin was given a chance to audition for the role when he replaced Neil Olshey, who was fired December 3 after an investigation involving workplace conduct. Portland’s ownership group considered opening up the job to other candidates, according to Wojnarowski, but eventually decided to stick with Cronin based on his “vision for the franchise and his ability to execute it.”
Cronin has a strong bond with first-year coach Chauncey Billups, Woj adds, which convinced management that they can work together effectively in trying to rebuild the franchise.
“Joe has shown in his short time as interim GM that he is more than ready to continue leading the front office,” said Trail Blazers chair Jody Allen. “We remain excited for the future of Trail Blazers basketball with Joe and Chauncey driving a cohesive plan to build an even more competitive and winning roster.”
The Blazers are coming a disappointing 27-55 season, but Cronin took the first steps in forging a path for the future. At the trade deadline, he sent long-time fan favorite CJ McCollum to the Pelicans and moved Norman Powell and Robert Covington to the Clippers. In return, Cronin picked up some draft capital and the flexibility to create cap space if Portland wants to be aggressive on the free agent market.
Cronin will have important decisions to make this summer, Wojnarowski notes, including possible extensions for Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons, along with a potential new deal for Jusuf Nurkic. The Blazers will also have a lottery pick in next month’s draft and a $21MM trade exception.
Cronin joined the organization as a basketball operations intern in 2006. He has worked with four leadership teams and was promoted to assistant general manager in 2021.
“I would like to thank Jody and (Vice Chair Bert Kolde) for this opportunity and a long list of other incredible people that have put their faith and trust in me not only over the last six months, but the last 16 years,” Cronin said. “My focus has always been creating a championship team and culture that players, coaches, and staff want to be a part of. I look forward to continuing that focus with the vision that Chauncey, (president of basketball operations Dewayne Hankins) and I share while unifying our business and basketball operations on and off the court.”